Neutrality of Brussels government staff at risk

7 November 2022
Cieltje Van Achter

The Parliament of the Brussels-Capital Region voted against an ordinance confirming the neutrality of the government. The purpose of this ordinance was, among other things, that government staff may not wear anything with philosophical, political or religious connotations while at work. Brussels party chair Cieltje Van Achter is disappointed by the decision of some Brussels majority parties (Vooruit, PS, Groen and Ecolo voted against it). “Brussels is a city with great diversity. A neutral government is precisely the best way to handle this.”

The debate on government neutrality resurfaced in the middle of last year after the STIB-MIVB was condemned for discrimination by the Brussels labour court for refusing to hire a woman wearing a headscarf. The Brussels government decided not to appeal the decision, after which the STIB-MIVB weakened the neutrality requirements in its work regulations. “However, our highest courts have already confirmed on several occasions that neutral attire can be imposed in the workplace. By voting down this ordinance now, the neutrality principle of the Brussels government is further eroded,” Cieltje concludes

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